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House of Commons
On 1 December, Kevan led a Westminster Hall debate on the decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board to sanction Durham County Cricket Club.
The decision by the ECB means Durham will start next season in Division Two of the County Championship on minus 48 points, stripped of the right to host Test cricket and given a string of financial sanctions as agreed conditions to the governing body’s £3.8m bailout of the club in October.
Kevan described the treatment of the Club by the England and Wales Cricket Board as a “scandal” and urged the sport's governing body to publish the method by which the punishment was calculated.
Kevan stated that, while Durham were in financial difficulty, the club has not actually gone bankrupt and therefore ECB regulations, which he has obtained through a source inside the governing body, should not have been applied.
Speaking in his debate, Kevan said:
“I don’t think openness and transparency is what comes to mind when it comes to the ECB.
“The regulations should be public documents. What have they got to hide, unless they are trying to cover something up?”
Later on in the debate, which was attended by a number of MPs, Kevan said:
“The way this has been done is a scandal. Loyal fans who have supported the club over many years through a passionate love of cricket have been completely disregarded.
“You have to ask, what is the purpose of the ECB? Is it to protect interests and act a cosy club? Or is to support those people who want active involvement in cricket? That is the clear question. This type of secrecy and lack of transparency in 2016 cannot continue.”
At the end of the debate, Kevan called for a meeting with the Sports Minister to
discuss in more detail not only Durham, but wider governance and the ECB, and the funding situation in cricket.
To read the debate in full click here: https://goo.gl/eTPJ4L
To watch the debate click here:
(Kevan's debate begins at 15:00:26)
On 23 November, Kevan spoke in a debate on the transport situation in the North East.
Speaking about transport provision in North Durham, Kevan said:
"We have no large employers in my constituency, which is a former coal-mining area, and many people move out to work around the region. The other main network for my constituents, apart from the buses, is the railway and Chester-le-Street station. It is 10 minutes from that station to Central station in Newcastle. However, trying to get any investment, not only in upgrading the station but by ensuring that the operators stop more regularly and at times when people actually want to travel, is very difficult.
"That could be dealt with straightaway by ensuring more stopping services and hourly services not only during the day—that is what we have at times; at other times they are half hourly—but at peak times, to ensure that we have regular stopping services at Chester-le-Street. That would avoid many people having to use their cars to travel into Tyneside, as they do at the moment.
"We need investment in rail—whether it be the Blyth-to-Tyneside route, the Leamside line or others—to increase capacity on the east coast main line, but I fear that over the next 20 to 30 years, most of the money will be sucked into the vanity project that is High Speed 2 and High Speed 3."
To read Kevan's speech in full, and the rest of the debate in full, click on the link below:
On 23 November, Kevan challenged North Durham CCG to scrap its new contract with private healthcare company, About Healthcare, which will charge £10 per letter to review GP’s referrals before they are passed on to hospitals.
Speaking about the issue in the House of Commons, Kevan said:
"The decision of the North Durham CCG raises some fundamental questions about how the NHS is run in North Durham, and our constituents’ relationship with the NHS.
"The decision changes the fundamental relationship of trust between a patient and their GP. My constituents have never been asked for permission for our private medical information to be passed to a private company.
"I have questions about the way the contract was let. We have had no information about how that happened. Was it by competitive tender? Did any individuals employed by the CCG have any pecuniary interest in awarding the contract? How will it be evaluated? What ability will patients have to say whether they agree with the outcomes? I challenge the North Durham CCG to publish the contract and all information and decision making about how it was awarded, because the cloak of secrecy around it is a disgrace. I also challenge it to scrap the contract and answer a basic question: why is it treating its patients with such contempt?"
To read Kevan's full speech and the rest of the debate in full, click on the link below:
On 19 November, Kevan visited the Alzheimers Society Christmas stall on Chester-le-Street Market.
On 19 November, Kevan called in at the North Durham Parkinsons UK Coffee Morning at the Methodist Church in Chester-le-Street.
On 16 November, Kevan attended an event organised by Guide Dogs to raise awareness of their Access All Areas Campaign. You can find out more at https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/campaigns/access-all-areas#.WFkP9...
Below, Kevan is pictured with Sean Dilley.
On Friday 11 November, Kevan attended the Remembrance Service at South Moor, which included the launch of the new Heritage Trail.
From Saturday 5 November onwards, Kevan's surgery in Stanley will be held at The Venue (former Stanley Day Centre) on Wear Road.
His surgeries will therefore be as follows:
9:00am - 10:30am St. Mary’s & St. Cuthbert’s Parish Centre, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street
11:00am - 11:45am Great Lumley Methodist Church, Front Street, Great Lumley
12:00noon- 12:30pm The Library on Plawsworth Road, Sacriston
1:00pm - 2:30pm The Venue, Wear Road, Stanley
All constituents are welcome, and no appointment is necessary.
On 4 November, Kevan visited the Waddington Street Centre to join the celebrations of their 35th anniversary.
The Centre provides invaluable support to people in County Durham with suffering mental ill-health. You can find out more about the centre at http://www.waddingtoncentre.co.uk
On 1 November, Kevan led a Westminster Hall debate on coeliac disease and prescriptions. A number of CCGs across the country have put forward proposals that would see the withdrawal of gluten-free foodstuffs from prescription.
During the well-attended debate, Kevan spoke about how some 40% of CCGs in England are now choosing to restrict or remove support for patients with coeliac disease, which is leading to increasing health inequalities and what he described as a postcode lottery for NHS care, depending on where someone is diagnosed.
During his speech, Kevan shared his concern that cutting prescriptions for gluten-free products is a simple and easy target for CCGs under financial pressure. The entire prescription cost to the NHS in 2014 was £26.8 million or 0.27% of the total prescription budget—£194 per patient.
In his speech Kevan said:
"What some CCGs are doing is a false economy, because one hospital admission will cost more than the annual cost of prescriptions for an individual who adheres to a gluten-free diet.
"The CCGs that have already removed access to prescriptions for gluten-free products have not outlined or implemented policies that offer alternatives to safeguard patients, such as access to specialist dietary or nutritional advice. When a coeliac patient is taken out of a CCG’s responsibility because their gluten-free food prescription has been withdrawn, that CCG can no longer monitor them or determine the changed policy’s impact on that patient’s health. This is an important factor, and I am concerned that it has not been taken into account by a number of CCGs."
At the end of his speech, Kevan called for urgent intervention on the issue, and said that a pharmacy-led system, similar to what is in place in Scotland, could be delivered better and more effectively.
You can read or watch the debate in full by clicking on the links below: